Ms. RICHARDSON. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 3173, which directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to reform the process for the enrollment, activation, issuance of renewal of a Transportation Worker Identification Credential, TWIC, to require, in total, not more than one in-person visit to a designated enrollment center.
The TWIC program was established to ensure all individuals who require admittance into secure areas of regulated maritime facilities and vessels are properly vetted and do not pose a threat to maritime and supply chain security. Current TWIC requirements require that applicants go to an enrollment center twice to complete the application and confirm the biometric information embedded into the card.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that this is an onerous burden for workers in the maritime industry, such as merchant vessel operators and truck drivers, who must obtain the credential for employment. Individuals in need of a TWIC card often work long hours with little down time. Many cannot afford to take extended periods of time off to go to an enrollment center, in some cases located hundreds of miles away, on two different occasions.
I believe that the Secretary of Homeland Security should reform the TWIC process before the end of 2012, when the TWICs first issued in 2007 will need to be renewed allowing applicants to complete the process with only one in-person visit. I urge Members of Congress to support H.R. 3173, to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to reform the process for the enrollment, activation, issuance, and renewal of the TWIC program.